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Ross, a Scottish Nobleman


"What a haste looks through his eyes! So should he look / That seems to speak things strange." (1.2.46-47), says Lennox about Ross, as Ross comes to tell the rest of the story of Macbeth's heroic victory over Scottish rebels and the King Norway. [Scene Summary]


"The King hath happily received, Macbeth, / The news of thy success" (1.3.89-90). Thus Ross greets Macbeth a few moments after the witches prophesy that Macbeth will be king. [Scene Summary]


O worthiest cousin!" (1.4.14) This is the King's greeting to Macbeth after Macbeth's victory over the rebels and the Norwegians. Banquo, Angus and Ross accompany Macbeth, but Angus and Ross have no lines in the scene. [Scene Summary]


"Hoboys and torches. Enter King Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Angus, and Attendants " (1.6.1, s.d. ). Ross is in King Duncan's entourage when Lady Macbeth greets the King upon his arrival at Macbeth's castle. [Scene Summary]


"Re-enter MACBETH and LENNOX, with ROSS" (2.3.90, s.d. ). This entrance occurs in the scene in which the body of King Duncan is discovered. Ross has no lines, and this is the only mention of him in the scene, but it appears that he was sleeping in the castle, was awakened by the alarm bell that Macduff rang, and arrived at the scene just in time to see Macbeth slaughter the grooms. [Scene Summary]


The morning after the night that King Duncan is murdered, Ross and an Old Man are discussing the strange darkness of the day. Ross says, Ah, good father, / Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man's act, / Threaten his bloody stage" (2.4.4-6). Ross means that the heavens above seem to be threatening humankind because of the terrible murder. Later in the scene, Ross and Macduff discuss the question of who did the murder. Their guarded words suggest that they have serious doubts about the idea that the grooms killed King Duncan and were bribed to do so by Malcolm and Donalbain. Nevertheless, Ross is going to Scone to see Macbeth crowned. [Scene Summary]


Macbeth, moments after he secretly receives the news that Banquo has been murdered, tells his banquet guests how much he wishes that Banquo were there. Ross agrees that Banquo should have kept his promise to attend, and invites Macbeth to sit: "His absence, sir, / Lays blame upon his promise. Please't your highness / To grace us with your royal company" (3.4.44). But then Macbeth -- and only Macbeth -- sees the Ghost of Banquo. Macbeth's strange words and gestures prompt Ross to tell everyone that the King is sick, so they should leave, but Lady Macbeth persuades everyone to stay. However, when the Ghost appears again, and Ross asks Macbeth what he has seen, Lady Macbeth hurriedly gets rid of all the guests. [Scene Summary]


When Ross informs Lady Macduff that her husband has fled Scotland, she becomes very upset, and he tries to calm her, saying, "You must have patience, madam" (4.2.2). He reassures the lady that Macduff knows what he is doing, but then almost weeps because of the danger which threatens her and her children. Moments after Ross departs, Lady Macduff and her son are butchered by Macbeth's hired assassins. Because the murderers follow so closely on Ross's heels, he is sometimes portrayed as a hypocrite who sets up the lady to be murdered, but this almost certainly was not Shakespeare's intention. [Scene Summary]


"My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither" (4.3.161). Thus Macduff greets Ross, who has come to England to tell Malcolm and Macduff of the terrible things that are happening in Scotland, including the slaughter of Macduff's wife and children. [Scene Summary]


Drum and colours. Enter MALCOLM, SIWARD and YOUNG SIWARD, MACDUFF, MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, ANGUS, LENNOX, ROSS, and Soldiers, marching(5.4.1, s.d.). He says nothing, but Ross is with the joint Scottish and English forces that enter Birnam wood before Macbeth's castle. [Scene Summary]


In the last scene of the play, Ross delivers the news to Siward that Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier's debt" (5.8.39). A little later he and the rest of the thanes join Macduff in honoring Malcolm by shouting "Hail, King of Scotland!" (5.8.60). [Scene Summary]

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